Often when women hear Fintech, they think there is no role for them in “tech” but they couldn’t be more wrong. There are so many wonderful roles and incredible opportunities waiting to be explored. We caught up with a few of our fantastic ladies to ask them what advice they would give to women wanting to start a career in Fintech.
What our women say
Gender diversity is something very close to VoxSmart’s heart. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we have gathered some advice from our amazing women for the future generation of talent in the financial technology sector.
Be curious and keep learning
Yinyin, Linguistic Engineer, is driven by her desire to learn and she describes learning as an important skill in both working and your daily life. Steve Jobs was famously quoted saying “Stay hungry, stay foolish”, which Yinyin takes as inspiration to be curious about what’s possible, to learn with tenacity and to have the courage to challenge yourself.
“There’s no need to rush, take your time to learn and never limit yourself! Prepare yourself well and when the opportunity presents itself, don’t be afraid to go for it. I think sometimes as women we put pressure on ourselves to keep progressing as quickly as possible, when in reality we need to be patient with ourselves and learn along the way.”
Play to your strengths
Shell, Sales Manager, started out as a receptionist and has grown from Technical Account Manager through to her current position. She reflects on how she was attracted to the start-up culture and the journey VoxSmart wanted to take. She believes there is no right or wrong career direction, especially in a start-up environment, so don’t be afraid to challenge and question.
“Women naturally bring excellent qualities to a team (just as much as men). Recognise these qualities and use them, it can bring so much value to the company. Believe in your strengths and the right company for you will reward you for that.”
Vanessa, Functional Analyst, shares the feeling that a feminine approach can enrich the course of action for your company. “Empower yourself to express your views, they are just as valid as anyone else’s so never apologise for having an opinion, especially when it’s different to your co-workers, they are often the best ideas!”
Learn to say NO
This has been a common piece of advice among our women and is especially relevant as we all manage remote working and the challenges of adapting our work-life balance during the pandemic. Patricia, Sales Manager, says that at times she needs to remind herself that she is only human and sometimes saying “no” is the best decision for her resilience and well-being.
“Often women are raised to believe that we should care for others more than ourselves. In the workplace this can lead to you taking on too much and burning out. Learn what your limits are and learn to say no when your workload is becoming unmanageable. You don’t need to prove you are good at your job buy saying yes to every task or new project that comes your way”.
Embrace what you think you cannot do
Sometimes the biggest challenge is to understand where you fit in. Lorena started out in computational linguistics by pure coincidence. After studying language, she knew that this is what interested her. However, at the time, applying language to computers was a leap into the unknown. After learning the technical side of the role, she has continued to develop and now specialises in language for the financial domain.
“If you don’t have the technical knowledge, then you read up on it and learn about it. You might end up becoming so passionate about one topic that you’ll never be able to imagine yourself doing anything else, which is what happened in my case! It’s like collecting the puzzle pieces and even if it isn’t clear at the beginning, you’ll end up with a perfect picture. Don’t be afraid to confront the unknown, you will learn your greatest lessons from being your curious.”
Find your own path and walk it with company
A question we often ask ourselves is: “what makes me happy?” The first step to feeling happy with your job is to know what is important to you professionally and own this with confidence. Roberta, Product Manager, remembers re-inventing her career several times over the years and while each time it was a different challenge, she has always stayed true to herself and encourages others to do the same.
“I remember when starting one of my first jobs in FinTech I asked my manager at the time: ‘What should we fear?’ He answered, ‘Your lack of self-confidence’. Take care of yourself and what is important to you but also share this with others so you can support each other mutually in the challenges you face. Your confidence will grow naturally by asking for help, giving your help in return and you will reach your full potential when you enable others to do the same.”
Be kind to yourself
Megan, People Operations Manager, joined a tech company in 2016 after 8 years in Public Relations. She felt it was a new and innovative space that she wanted to explore more of. She feels everyone should learn how practicing positive self-talk, as it reminds ourselves of what makes us great and gives us the confidence to show our true selves. It also really helps a person consider both sides of every situation and be fair to others but more importantly, yourself.
“As I have gained experience, I feel less nervous about starting a new role. My advice would be to stay calm and just be yourself. I also tell myself not to take things so personally, always try to maintain perspective of the situation and look at your career, and life, from a place of appreciation rather than complaint.”
Trust your instincts
Reflecting on her career and background growing up, Adrienne, COO, believes that her fight or flight instincts guided her through some her most difficult challenges and learning how to communicate this to her peers has been what has turned her “feelings” into facts which had to be acted on.
“If it feels weird, it’s going to be. They teach you to listen to this in careers like the police where if you see odd behaviour, be weary, but it is often brushed off in the workplace as just a ‘feeling’. But if you can back these feelings up with something quantitative (everyone loves a data point), it suddenly turns into and action point to address. So, enjoy every minute, ask all the questions, raise your hand for all the opportunities you see and tread carefully in situations when your gut raises a “red flag”. 9 times out of 10 you are always right.”
Find a mentor and be a mentor to others, especially women
A recent study by Adeva on the State of Women in Tech reported that a lack of mentorship is the primary reason why women are underrepresented in technology. Leila, Sales Manager, recalls how her mentor led her from studying social science to working at a stock exchange, and beyond. Her advice? DO IT. Put yourself out there and get to known senior men and women in your organization or industry. Establishing a relationship and creating a sounding board will become so valuable as you progress.
“I am a huge believer in giving back, I have been lucky enough to have had mentors, sponsors (both strong senior and kind women and men) and learning and asking questions in a safe environment is key. Be strong, smart and kind. Find a mentor, be curious and empowered through product knowledge. Ask questions, explore all options, and the acronyms sound fancier than they come across!”
Women in the tech workplace
The same Adeva study, reported that as of 2018, women held only 25% of all the jobs in the tech industry, despite women making up almost half f the total workforce. The same study revealed that only 3% of female students would consider a career in technology as their first choice, compared to 15% of males.
VoxSmart’s workforce of wonderful women is currently at 23% and our journey towards better diversity is far from over. We are constantly working hard to ensure our workplace is as diverse as it can be to enrich our culture and domain expertise.
Can’t wait to start your career in FinTech? We’d love to hear from you! Reach out with your CV and area of interest to email@example.com/.
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